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  • Writer's pictureThe Parents' Guide to

Going back to school - get your teen on the right track in the new academic year

The year is spinning on and it’s time to check whether your teen has everything they need to start the new academic year on the right foot. That includes how they feel, what they’ll wear, any equipment they may need and, perhaps most important of all, a positive mindset.

Two girls going back to school in September - holding books

Fitting in

As your “little one” starts to match (or overtake!) your own height, all these growth spurts can pan out to being a costly business. Inevitably they’ll need new uniform items that fit, including shoes and trainers, as well as shirts, skirts, trousers, jumpers and blazers. Some schools offer pre-loved items at a much cheaper price if you can’t buy their uniform in mainstream shops.

Boy in science lesson with school equipment

Being well prepared

Whether they’re at GCSE stage or sixth form, and despite so much being online, they’ll still need some old-fashioned stationery. They should already have quite a bit from last year, but a refresh is a good idea. You may also want to check they have everything they need for any new subjects they’re starting – or those needing specialist equipment, such as Maths, art or design. They also need to stay organized, so folders and files are essential. It’s exciting beginning the new year with fresh notebooks and pens, so this could motivate them to feel more positive about heading back to school. We’ve included a checklist on our website or take a look at the complete school stationery bundle.

Don’t forget practical items like a sturdy waterproof backpack and insulated lunch bag, if they take packed lunch. Does their laptop have enough capacity for them to do their work?

Complying with school rules

The holidays are a time when teens can enjoy their independence by wearing what they want and styling their hair how they like it. However, some schools have rules about hair, so It might be time to book them in for a haircut! They will need to comply to any rules – and these may even apply to non-uniform sixth forms.

Girl going back to school smiling at camera

Re-establishing a routine

Starting the school year well includes feeling fresh and ready for the challenges ahead. If the holidays have meant they’ve got out of a regular bedtime and getting up routine, now is the time to start getting into good habits, with early to bed and early to rise! If they've spent a lot of time indoors over the summer and increased their screen time watching TV, especially during the day, they should start to cut down. Introduce changes gradually over the next couple of weeks to avoid the shock of a big, sudden change on the first day of term.


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Thinking positively

Setting a positive mindset can be helped by making sure their bedroom is tidy and organized. The end of the holidays is a great time for them to have a good sort out – cleaning their room, putting things away, throwing out things they don’t need any more and making sure they have an appropriate space to study. A wardrobe overhaul could also be timely – donating clothes that don’t fit or recycling those that have worn out, so that whenever they open their wardrobe it is uncluttered and filled with things they want to wear.

A note for you

As a parent, you’ll also want to be well prepared for the year ahead, so do read any school information, putting important dates on your calendar and making sure emergency contact numbers are easily available.

There’s lots more things you can do at home to help your teen get the best out of their GCSE or sixth form years, so do take a look at our specialist guides, The Parents' Guide to Study and Exam Revision - GCSE or Sixth Form:


We always love to hear from you, so do let us know if there are any subjects you’d like us to chat to you about. Stay safe and keep happy, Vanessa and Darius -


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